Saturday, 8 October 2016

Isle of Man Images, Enjoy the Scenery

The Sound and Calf of Man ©Solange Hando

So close to home yet so different, that's the Isle of Man, just 13 x 33 miles, a Crown Dependency, not part of the UK, but claiming the world's longest running Parliament.

Then if history isn't enough, there's the scenery, most spectacular along the coastal path the Calf of Man and the strait, known as the Sound. It's a fabulous place to spot dolphins and seals, seabirds including guillemots, the 'penguins of the north', and if you're lucky, the odd basking shark.

Isle of Man ©Solange Hando

Rolling hills, flower meadows and farmland where four-horned sheep graze undisturbed, the interior is delightful yet for ever changing, rising through heath land and moors to Snaefell, at over 2000 feet, the highest point on the island.

Walk up or hop aboard the Victorian mountain railway and when you get up there on a clear day, you will see seven kingdoms, Man, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Heaven and Sea.

Fairy Bridge ©Solange Hando

Manx history spans an amazing 10,000 years, all vividly explained in the Manx Museum, but here legends have a special place too and are respected by every islander.

This is the land of fairies and little people. They live in leafy glens, they sleep in the trees, bathe in the streams and it's always a good idea to greet them when you walk over an ancient bridge, just in case. Best keep luck on your side.

Coastal Walk, Isle of Man ©Solange Hando

Especially if you intend tackling the Way of the Gull, a 95 mile long coastal path, challenging at times, laced with crevices and chasms, cliffs, rocks and windswept open land.

Check the forecast, be prepared and if you have little experience, join a group.

Port Erin ©Solange Hando

But there are plenty of rewards along the way from broad sands to tiny coves and blue inlets of the sea shimmering with myriad reflections.

Grassy slopes, dramatic headlands, hills rising towards the hinterland, the scenery takes your breath away, glorious in brilliant sunshine, eerie when the mist rolls in from the open sea.

Sunset over Douglas from the Headland ©Solange Hando

Wherever you are on the isle, Douglas, the capital is never far away, a traditional seaside resort with a Jubilee Clock, flower gardens and a statue of Sir William Hillary who founded the Lifeboat Institution in 1824.

Then of course, there's the beach and the vintage transport so dear to the Isle of Man, from the old  electric and steam railways to the horse-drawn trams which add their own touch of nostalgia along the seafront promenade.

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